Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is a decline in hearing which can be temporary or permanent depending on the cause and type of hearing loss. It can affect people of all ages, and can range widely in severity. Some common causes of hearing loss are due to aging, noise exposure, genetics, sudden unknown etiology, and ear wax blockage, ear drum perforations and ear infections.  Some can be treated medically, while others are permanent in nature and can only be treated non-medically with the help of hearing aids.

Read below some facts about hearing loss, as well as some myths and truths.

 

Facts About Hearing Loss

  • Hearing loss today is a major health issue. It is the 3rd most common physical condition after heart disease and arthritis. ( http://www.hearingloss.org/content/basic-facts-about-hearing-loss )
  • Hearing loss is a gradual or sudden decline in how well you hear. It can affect people of all ages, and the severity ranges from mild hearing loss to profound hearing loss. 
  • There are various types of hearing loss. It can be temporary or permanent, conductive, sensorineural, or mixed.
  • Tinnitus or a ringing/buzzing in the ears is often accompanied with various types of hearing losses.
  • Hearing loss is a condition that we cannot see physically, only its effects. As a result of this, the effects may cause withdrawal from the society/social isolation, stress, personality changes, frustration and confusion.
  • In adults, the most common cause of hearing loss is due to aging and noise exposure.
  • Presbycusis is the term used for hearing loss due to aging.  This type of hearing loss happens gradually over time, is always permanent and can range from mild to profound. A strong correlation exists between aging and hearing loss.
  • Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) is the term for hearing loss due to noise exposure. NIHL can occur suddenly with one burst of loud noise such as a gun shot/explosion, or can happen gradually with everyday noise exposure from environments such as parties, noisy streets, and lawn mowers.

 

Statistics

  • Approximately 1 in every 3 people older than 65 years live with a hearing loss. (WHO)
  • 50 million Americans experience some form of tinnitus. (ATA) 
  • 21% of diabetics have hearing loss, compared to 9% of non diabetics. (Bainbridge et al, 2008)
  • Untreated hearing loss increases the risk for dementia. (John Hopkins School of Medicine)
  • On average, people with hearing loss wait seven years prior to seeking help. (CHC)
  • Low frequency hearing loss is associated with and could be an early marker for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events. (Friedland et al, 2009)
  • About 30 million Americans are exposed to dangerous noise levels daily. (ASHA)
  • Only about 20% individuals who can benefit from hearing aids actually wear them. (NIDCD)
  • Hearing loss is linked to inceased risk of depression in adults of all ages, especially women under 70. (Chuan-Ming Et al, 2014)
  • Untreated hearing loss can affect cognitive brain function. (Science Daily 2011).

 

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